Was it the dirty tricks department or simply a clever political ploy? You choose.
Donald Trump’s timing of his medical reports and showing them in dramatic fashion to celebrity TV expert Dr Mehmut Oz was clearly designed to put the spotlight back on Hillary Clinton’s state of health.
Coming as it did only a couple of days after Hillary fainted at a 9/11 ceremony and was diagnosed with pneumonia, Trump made a big deal of ‘should I, should I not’ on the screen before yanking out a sheaf of papers from his pocket and passing them on to the doctor whose show is watched by millions.
There is little doubt that it was planned, and planned deviously for special effect. It was also used to deflect attention from his weight problem by having it mentioned in passing rather than his fast food diet and his avoirdupois becoming a competitive medical headline. Hillary’s illness gave little octane to the sagging Republican campaign, and this week changes in the campaign set-up and its managers have given the Trump camp a sense of being back on track and coming out and throwing punches.
But being in the ‘pink’ of health will not be enough. As the pace hots up, and individuals who fear a Trump regime and have good standing in the American public’s mind start speaking out loud it could hurt him at the hustings. One of these is former Secretary of State Colin Powell who has go on record, openly calling Trump a mad man and a disgrace to the country.
To quote Powell, Trump is an "international pariah". Such remarks put a pause in the mind of those who might be enjoying the shenanigans but would balk at giving a maverick the awesome power of the presidency. If more Powells start speaking up it will definitely have an impact. The African-American community, for example, won’t take Powell’s words lightly. He has now gone on record stating that Trump takes black people as ‘idiots’.
Harsh words indeed and words that underscore the sharp divide in American society over who should take over from Obama. For sure, Trump has used the oily and slick three point formula of suspicion, fear and blame so perfected by Indian politicians. He has infected a large number of people with doubts and concerns about others who eat, dress or speak differently and look different. He has generated fear of the American way of life being in danger and red-circled the goblins under the public bed. Then he has pointed to specific groups as the cause of all the ills in the US community.
Every state and national election in India is balanced on the same three-legged stool.
This unholy trinity of political thought works very well for a while because it plays a new tune and promises a cardboard security and a map to a promised land of milk and honey that does not exist. Invariably, it has been followed by a profound and tangible sense of disillusionment as we have seen so often. Fear reduces, suspicion dies out without cause, and blame becomes an excuse for not delivering.
You name the party in India that has not employed the same formula, which is also the single largest reason for the incumbent factor working against the entity rather than for it.
There is a great deal of difference between pre-election rhetoric and having the buck stop with you. In the end perhaps the US system of checks and balances will have to work overtime to keep the ship of state from capsising, be it a volatile Trump or a vanilla Hillary.
First Published On : Sep 15, 2016 17:06 IST